free software Highlights Mobile

It isn’t just ringing, it’s Fringing

If you run a Symbian or Windows Mobile device, you have to install Fring. The mobile application lets you do instant messaging (IM) with Yahoo, Skype, MSN Messenger, ICQ, Google Talk and AIM and VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) calls using Skype Out or SIP. It can also be used with Twitter‘s services.

The software works on devices running the Symbian operating system—smartphones like the Nokia N series, E Series, S60 devices and the Sony Ericsson P series—and Windows Mobile devices.

Fring running on Sony Ericsson P1i FRING ON P1I. The Fring mobile application running on the sony Ericsson P1i. Click on photo to view larger image.

Fring does not only offer IM and VOIP capabilities, it also offers Wi-Fi connectivity management. The application automatically logs you into Wi-Fi hostpots so that you don’t have to deal with setting up your connections.

What’s also good about Fring is that it will automatically use free Wi-Fi, when available, instead of your phone’s data plan to save on cost.

I got wind of Fring from a comment by Mike Schmeisser in a previous post.

I tried Fring on the Sony Ericsson P1i and found the application very easy to use and set up. Less than two minutes after installing it, I was already chatting with a Gtalk contact. To work with Sony Ericsson phones, though, you need install two files. The Fring website will guide you into installing the application.

Yes there are other IM applications that work on the mobile phones and many of these are official versions released by IM providers.

But anyone who uses and application like Pidgin to chat in the PC instead of just Gtalk or Yahoo Messenger can tell you how convenient it is to just use one application to chat with your Yahoo Buddies, Gtalk contacts, and AIM, ICQ and MSN friends.

Not all of us use the same IM service and it doesn’t make sense to run several IM applications in your PC—much more in your phone or mobile device—just to keep in touch with people you know.

Applications like Pidgin break this digital Balkanization by being able to communicate with users of various IM services. Fring takes this convenience into the mobile phone.

Instead of exchanging text messages, you can just choose to chat with Fring and get the added convenience of being able to communicate with your friends who are online with their IM accounts.

But more than just chatting, Fring allows you to send and receive files. I still have to test this capability though.

This feature is great especially if you are on a Wi-Fi connection. If you’re using a data plan, Smart’s charging of P10 for each 30-minute block of usage is a great deal. I use Fring with my Smart Buddy account and I’m able to chat without lags or connectivity problems using the company’s mobile Internet service.

By Max Limpag

Max is a journalist and blogger based in Cebu City, Philippines. He is co-founder of the journalism start-up InnoPub Media.